News Alert: The Musang King is here!

Last night, after an invigorating run through the empty street market, we went by our usual fruit store, Fu Wing.

Lo and behold… Not One but Four Musang Kings sitting in their full glory on the polystyrene box. They looked a good size and I asked see tao po (lady boss) how much they cost.

  

Ho guai aaaah yee gaa” she said, pausing for breath, then quickly “yat bat lok sap bat man yat pong“.

Translation:
“Very expensive now, 168 HKD per pound”.

These durians would easily be 4-6 pounds each which would translate to 670-1000 HKD per durian. So at the top end, it’s 130 USD per fruit which would translate into Malaysian currency as 570+MYR per fruit (horrid exchange rate at the moment). Yikes! If my durian seller quoted me this in KL I would have gone ballistic.

I couldn’t bring myself to justify paying that much… Not with Christmas round the corner and our soon to eat durian feast in Singapore.

  
Sigh. Just photos then.

The winter season harvest has started. Right on Thanksgiving. So now you know.

Advertisements

A taste of Durians from Medan

After all this time that I’ve been visiting Jakarta, I’ve seen local Indonesian durians for sale (usually from Medan) but never bought any to try. Well, that all changed last week when I decided to take the plunge for the first time.

I was out to buy some peaches for a friend at the Total Fruit Store in Jalan Wolter Monginsidi and of course the display caught my eye.

Monthong and Medan Durians for Sale at the Total Buah Segar

Monthong and Medan Durians for Sale at the Total Buah Segar

We are definitely already in the midst of durian season and I’ve been eyeing the Monthong durians for sale at the GrandLucky but succeeded in holding off my purchase as it just doesn’t smell or look as good as the ones we get in KL.

But durian deprivation finally got a hold of me and I thought a good way to get rid of the craving would be to try something new. I had to take a closer look.

Small Medan Durian Fruits

Small Medan Durian Fruits

OK, not too unfriendly pricing. The one on the left is equivalent to 5.6 uSD and the one on the right is 6.3 USD. Not too bad I guess. I contemplated for a short while and picked up the one on the left because the fruit didn’t look quite as “squashed” from handling and packaging. It’s a pity that it’s just labelled as “Durian Medan”. It’s as if there is just one type… which would seem very unusual to me. Perhaps there just isn’t the breeding and cultivation industry as there is in Malaysia.

We attended a dinner that evening so we didn’t end up consuming it on the same day. I stuck it in the freezer for another evening. We didn’t wait too long.

Here’s a picture of the durian post thaw:

Nice Color

Nice Color

Color looked great but what was disappointing was the lack of the usual durian aromas which are so important to kick the saliva glands and neural connections into overdrive. Oh well, we’ll give it a try anyway.

Saving the Durian for last

Saving the Durian for last

Durians should always be eaten last or solo among fruits. The taste is usually overwhelming and even the best ripe Californian peaches and grapes will be bland compared to it.

So the taste test.

MMMmmmmm Durian....

MMMmmmmm Durian….

Verdict

Aroma: C

Flavor: C

Color (vs expectation): B-

Texture: B

Size of seed: Large (compared to pellicle)

Overall rating: C

I thought it was generally lousy compared to Malaysian durians but am open to re-rating if I get a better sample. No wonder Indonesians fly in to KL to eat durians.

 

 

 

 

26th August 2011 – Durian Crazy in the Singapore Newspapers

When I opened the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times today I spotted durian mentioned on 3 different pages of the paper.

The first one that I spotted was the one of the presidential candidates sniffing (or admiring) one at a durian stall:

Presidential candidate admiring a durian

 

 

 

 

Is it a Mau Sang Wang?

 

 

 

 

The next one was an ad on the front page of the classified section :

Durian Stall Advertisement

 

 

 

Hey, it really is Mau Sang Wang!

 

 

 

 

And finally, the following one was the actual advertisement for the stall with an incentive to visit:

Durian Advertisement in Singapore

 

 

So if you are looking to have a durian party in Singapore, this might be the place to call to organize it for you…

If the address isn’t clear enough, here it is:

6 Clementi Road

#01-08 (AYE Exit 9), Near NUS

Opening hours, 1pm-2am daily

Tel: 9122 5222

 

Maybe if I can visit their stall I can ask them whether they’ll give a special discount to Stinky Spikes readers 🙂

 

Durian Extravaganza: Expedition in Penang

Durian Stall in Penang (front view)

If you didn’t know that durians from Penang are famous world-over, you do now.

Balik Pulau in Penang is one of Malaysia’s premium durian cultivation zones, with the creative farm-owners cross breeding the fruit to yield the most luscious flavors, colors, aromas and innovative names.

I was in Penang for work and including the 2 in tow from KL, there were a total of 6 of us. After the work day was done with, we rewarded ourselves with a durian feast which CyL had booked in advance.
“If you don’t book and you don’t arrive early, you won’t get the best” she said knowingly. It sounded almost like a threat that if we didn’t wrap up work in time, someone else might steal our fun.
So punctually at 5.30pm, we concluded business matters and piled into our vehicles. If you have been stuck in Penang’s almost-as-famous traffic jams before, you probably know that the short distance from Pulau Tikus to Jalan Macalister took us 30 minutes. Initially, I thought we were going to the usual Jalan Anson stall (which we had patronized all these years), but MG said that the stall owners were reluctant to acknowledge and exchange substandard quality durians which were charged at premium prices.

So where is the Durian Stall?

It’s right on the corner of Lorong Susu and Jalan Macalister, you can park along Lorong Susu. I’ve labelled both stalls on the map below just in case you are desperate for durian and one stall isn’t open for any reason.

Durian Stall in Penang

And what durian varieties do they have?

Here’s a signboard that will help you with your choice. Not that they have all the types all the time, because it depends on the specific trees and when the fruits fall.

The tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Ok, now let’s get to the durians. It was almost dinner time so we went crazy and ordered all the best varieties they had.

Green Skin Durian

I think this was the Bamboo

They were all good, very different flavors and textures. Yummy.

The Durian Susu

Durian Fingerprint Texture Test

An unripe durian is very firm and almost dry to touch. The best way to know if the durian is ripe and ready for eating is to press your finger into it and see if it leaves an imprint, indicating its softness and moisture.

(I would not recommending this test on durians displayed in supermarket packages, the supermarkets get very upset when there are lots of fingerprints all over the durian they are trying to sell).

As a substitute for finger-pressing, use your nose. The smell of ripe durians always gives it away and the stronger and more tantalizing the scent. Color is deceptive as some durians are lighter than others, but generally durian flesh does darken in color slightly on ripening.

All the durians on the table – I think each of us must have eaten at least one whole if not two…

Various durians on the table

Of course, there is no way I could return without any durians for SW so we selected several and put them in a box. Green Skin, Butter, Mau Sang Wang were the three top ones, so those got packed into plastic containers and wrapped in cling film.

All these in the box for take-away

Looks quite a lot doesn’t it? But it was wrapped up into only 7 boxes. Interestingly while we were there wrapping these, several tourists from Macau also visited the stall and wanted to bring some back. Unfortunately, their tour guide informed them that Airasia would not accept durians onto their flight and that it was pointless to spend money buying them as they would probably be confiscated.

Hey Airasia, maybe its time to allow people to bring it on as long as its packed and sealed well (they have to use a cling wrap service for the entire bag perhaps) and pay a surcharge for these. After all, what else is there really to buy as a real cultural souvenir in Penang?

Durian menu in Chinese

Some parting shots, the durian names in chinese, for the benefit of our chinese readers, and a shot of all the durian husks in bins waiting for the garbage truck.

Durian Skin Bin

Maybe the durian skins are recycled or made into compost…

This is definitely a stall worth visiting, and if you don’t eat durian (what are you doing reading this site!!) then the stall also has great mangosteens and rambutans, jackfruit and cempadak, so you can gorge on that instead.

Durians are AVAILABLE in Hong Kong!

When I was in Hong Kong a few weekends ago, S2 and I met up with YV, JH and CW at IFC and we walked via overhead bridge over to Landmark building. There we decided to go to the supermarket to acquire a few items for dinner at their home that evening.

 

Durians at the Supermarket in Landmark

 

Imagine our collective surprise when YV revealed that the supermarket at Landmark named “ThreeSixty” stocked fresh durian for sale. I wasted no time hunting around for it, thinking that my nose would lead me to the source. Alas, the supermarket was very well organized, extremely well ventilated and exceedingly well chilled… all which masked the usual intense aroma of the durian.

We eventually found that durian was stocked in 2 places. The first place you would find it is already packed in neat styrofoam backing with clingfilm in the fruit chiller fridge, first on the left as you enter the supermarket. The second place is right towards the end of the fruit/vegetable section (near the onions and potatoes) where they kept the whole fruits still in their husky glory.

 

D24 Durian at the Landmark Supermarket (HK)

 

Why NO SMELL? This was Malaysian durian you see and by right it should have been stinking out the whole place. Well, the reason is because it was D24 (one of the milder breeds now) and it was also not harvested at the height of the season which would have made the whole experience much more stinky. Nonetheless, we were delighted to discover this and be able to share it with our international durian eating audience, that indeed, Malaysian durian is available in Hong Kong…. not just the blander Thai version (which is what most end up with).

 

Stacked up D24 Fruit

 

After some consideration, we bought the durian that was already pre-packed in plastic. For the following reasons:

1. We could see what we were getting

2. We conducted the press-test to check ripening

3. We were able to choose seeds of different coloration (probably from different fruits)

4. It was slightly cheaper

5. We didn’t have to worry about throwing away the husks

Mind you, if you wanted them to pack the durian into the boxes, I’m sure the helpful ladies at the supermarket would have been happy to assist.

Verdict? YV, JH thought it was pretty good (they haven’t been to Malaysia in 2 years though…) S2 and I thought it was mediocre but not the worst.

So, if you are in Hong Kong and desperate for durian, now you know where you can try to find them.

 

Durian Derivatives at Landmark Supermarket (HK)

 

And if its off season, take heart as they also sell the durian dried derivatives, which should last you till you buy your CX or Airasia ticket down to KL for feast.

Durians at Central Market, Pasar Seni

When it is Durian season you can often find them everywhere! Even selling in front of the Central Market near Petaling Street.

This used to be a market, but is now more of a tourist attraction for local arts and crafts. Still beautiful though and we hope it stays that way.

Durian Fruit Stall at Central Market